The Coalition is considering tolling existing parts of the road network because motoring in the UK is ‘notably’ cheaper than on the Continent says a transport consultant.
Scott Wilson, associate director at Leigh Fisher Management Consultants, a specialist in road pricing, makes the explosive claim on his blog.
Plans for reforming UK roads were not released as expected at the Coalition’s Mid Term Review in early January though reports say the ideas have not been abandoned.
Wilson says, ‘Discussion has moved to whether something can be done to allow tolling on existing capacity. There is one view held by some that, despite UK fuel taxes being amongst the highest in Europe, that if tolls are taken into account, some motorists in Europe pay notably more per mile than those in the UK (Italy has tax on petrol at around EURO 0.02 less than the UK, but tolls would easily be more for those using the motorways).’
The Department for Transport currently says it will only toll existing roads where they have been ‘improved literally beyond recognition’.
Wilson’s own five point plan includes commercialising the Highways Agency and splitting it into local entities, ring-fencing road taxes for maintenance and improvements, a new regulator, encouraging private sector involvement and finally allowing charging, even on existing capacity.